If social distancing, stock piling and cringeworthy celebrity singalongs weren’t bad enough, parents are now facing the reality of home schooling children for the foreseeable future. This wouldn’t be so bad if many of us didn’t have to work full-time jobs while simultaneously making sure the kids are working hard, eating right and not just playing Minecraft all day.
Because lots of people are facing this exact problem, the Daily Express Gaming team is launching the School’s Out Video Game Project for kids.
Open to school children, we want you to pick a video game, put it through its paces and then write a 50-300 word review.
You can review a brand new game that you’ve never played before, a retro classic that you absolutely love, or even a free-to-play mobile game that doesn’t cost a penny to download.
Once you’ve finished writing your review, just email it to the Daily Express Gaming team with your name, age and school. Please write ‘School’s Out Video Game Project’ in the subject line.
We’ll try to give as much feedback as possible, and will post some of the most entertaining entries every Saturday and Sunday – so bookmark the DX Gaming page to see if your review makes the cut.
If you’re unsure about writing reviews and want some help, then check out the tips below for everything you need to know about writing the perfect critique.
Tips for writing the perfect video game review…
1. Make notes
If you’re hoping to write an informed review, then it’s a good idea to have a pen and piece of paper handy in order to make notes.
If you’re playing the game and something really jumps out at you, then pause when appropriate to jot it down. This will give you things to talk about in your review.
If you make a note of the times when the in-game characters make you laugh or when the story takes a surprising twist, you can write about these moments and how they made you feel. Just try not to spoil the story for new players.
Is the game really colourful? Does it look super realistic? Is it like a cartoon? These are the kind of things you can mention in your review.
The more notes you make, the more there is to talk about in your final article.
2. Pros and Cons
Some games are perfect, others are rotten, but most fall somewhere in-between. If you want to make your reviews balanced, then it’s a good idea to create a pros and cons list before you start writing.
If you write a glowing review but only award the game 2-stars out of a possible 5, then you need to do a better job of explaining why it isn’t up to scratch.
Don’t be negative for the sake of being negative, but try to ensure the score matches the content of the review. Writing a pros and cons list makes this easier.
Remember to give your game a score out of 5 stars when you’re finished. A 5-star game is the best of the best, while a 1-star game stinks worse than Doctor Robotnik’s underpants.
3. Don’t just describe the game
One of the most important things to remember when writing a review is that you’re not just describing the game, you’re saying what it is that makes it good or bad.
Many reviewers have fallen into the trap of describing a game without ever actually giving an opinion.
Don’t write a blow-by-blow account of the plot if it has no bearing on whether or not you like or dislike the game. Concentrate on the things that make the game stand out.
4. Back up your opinions
Reviews are all about opinions. Just because you dislike something, it doesn’t mean everybody else will feel the same way.
If you can back up your opinions with some actual examples from the game, then it gives you more credibility and makes your review more trustworthy.
5. Language and grammar
Try to be creative when writing your reviews, and don’t just use the same words over and over again.
If you do find yourself about to use the same words again and again, grab a thesaurus and look for an alternative. You might find a different word that better explains what you’re trying to say.
It’s also extremely important to check spellings and punctuation before submitting the review.
REVIEW WRITING IN A NUTSHELL
• Make notes while you play
• Create a pros and cons list
• Don’t just describe the game, offer an opinion
• Back up your opinions with examples from the game
• Use descriptive words (have a thesaurus handy)
• Give your game a score out of five stars
• Check your finished review for spelling and punctuation errors
• Send the finished review with your name, age and school to the Daily Express Gaming team